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    Introducing: REAL CU Voices

    The current economic conditions have created anxiety on both a local and national level. Many are comparing the current market conditions to the Great Depression. Rapidly increasing unemployment, the down turn in financial markets make many credit union and community leaders think that it is time to hunker down and not aggressively seek growth in assets or membership.

    A couple of weeks ago (and one blog post down) when we asked credit unions which strategy they’d persue, 41% of the respondents believed that credit unions should hunker down and focus inwardly.

    However, 59% think this is a perfect time to capitalize on positive media attention and the increasing awareness and trust that consumers have in credit unions. These leaders are aggressively growing by targeting emerging markets and increasing product offerings to grow membership and assets.

    In the comments, Susan Fisher from Tongass FCU explains:

    “The old business axiom ‘if you’re not growing you’re dying’ holds true. What better time to find new members and develop new relationships than this? There are people hurting financially and confused out there – credit unions are the beacon. Who aren’t we reaching and why? This is not the time to shrivel.”

    Coastal FCU’s Chuck Purvis explains that his credit union is both hunkering down and aggressively pursuing growth:

    “Our mortgage business is booming and we’re pursuing all of that business we can handle. We’re also looking at new lending opportunities as a means to better diversify our service base and risk exposure. And we’re examining every item in our income statement to identify opportunities to become more efficient and generate better earnings…

    First quarter annualized deposit growth was 34% and we’re having to control that to ensure we maintain sufficient capital levels for the long term.”

    As Steve mentions in the video above, the REAL CU Voices series will bring diverse opinions about growth in these interesting economic times. Every three weeks, we – in collaboration with the CUNA Councils – will share a new segment of the series that will feature new opinions on this topic.

    The comments in the survey post are filled with insight – we can’t wait to hear your reactions and takeaways from each future segment. Thanks for the conversation!

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